Argentina archbishop says he made errors in dealing with abuse allegations in opposition to priest
LA PLATA, Argentina — Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernández, chosen by Pope Francis to move the Vatican workplace that ensures doctrinal orthodoxy, conceded Sunday he made errors in dealing with a 2019 case of a priest accused of sexual abuse of minors.
The case has drawn allegations by critics that Fernández tried to guard the priest, a cost that he has denied.
“Right this moment I will surely act very otherwise and definitely my efficiency was inadequate,” he informed The Related Press throughout an interview after celebrating Mass in La Plata, about 70 kilometers (40 miles) south of Buenos Aires.
Pope Francis appointed Fernández on July 1 to move the Holy See’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Religion, which ensures doctrinal orthodoxy and one among whose areas entails dealing with sexual abuse allegations introduced in opposition to clergy. He was additionally named a cardinal Sunday together with about two dozen non secular.
BishopAccountability.org, a U.S. group that maintains a web based archive on abuse within the Roman Catholic Church, has questioned the archbishop’s appointment as head of the dicastery. It mentioned Fernández refused to consider allegations by minors who accused Eduardo Lorenzo, a priest within the archdiocese of La Plata, of abusing them.
On the finish of 2019, hours after studying that an Argentine choose had ordered his arrest for the alleged sexual abuse of 5 kids, Lorenzo was discovered lifeless in what was dominated a suicide.
In response to the U.S. group’s criticism, Fernández informed AP in a press release Monday that he had by no means mentioned he didn’t consider the allegations and that he took steps to distance the priest from the alleged victims.
On Sunday, although, he was extra self-critical of his actions, which he attributed to arriving in 2018 as archbishop of La Plata “with none expertise in one other diocese.” He mentioned church procedures for coping with allegations of abuse dedicated by clerics “had been much less clear” at the moment.
“I can’t say that I’ve dedicated against the law or one thing in opposition to what was established at the moment, however that I might have been a significantly better father, significantly better pastor and far more environment friendly. That, in fact, I acknowledge,” he informed AP.
“With all the pieces I say it’s clear that I didn’t act in one of the simplest ways,” he mentioned.
Fernández mentioned he ought to have “handled the victims extra carefully” and acted “a bit of earlier” in eradicating Lorenzo from his duties as a priest whereas he was being investigated.
“I used to be ready to see how justice acted, what the prosecutor did, what goal parts got here to us,” he mentioned.
Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability.org, expressed disbelief on the archbishop’s phrases.
“He declares himself bewildered, however he’s a classy and educated man,” she mentioned, including that “claims of ignorance are usually not credible.”
Barrett Doyle mentioned Fernández “repeatedly” demonstrated assist for the priest.
“If Archbishop Fernández lastly regretted his dealing with of this case, why did he by no means attain out to Lorenzo’s victims?” she mentioned.
An in depth adviser to the Argentine-born pontiff, Fernández has been nicknamed the “pope’s theologian″ as a result of he’s broadly believed to have helped creator a few of Francis’ most vital paperwork. Francis named him to move the La Plata archdiocese in 2018.
Fernández mentioned he had spoken to the pope concerning the criticism acquired about Lorenzo’s case and was informed: “You clarify actuality because it was.”